Lockdowns and ups

I haven’t written anything for the blog in a while. There are few reasons for this, but to start with I lacked motivation. At the beginning of lockdown I found the desire to exercise waning and, like most people, I wasn’t entirely sure how long it would go on for and exactly what would be affected.

To be honest that lethargy didn’t last too long and soon I found myself back in the saddle (metaphorically) and doing a few home workouts. When it became apparent this was going to be months rather than weeks I thought I would get some home gym – yeah, me and half the country – so no luck there. I had to make do with a couple of kettlebells, a gym mat and a big log I found in the garden.

The “home gym” – log not pictured

I could have written about that – coming up with a home programme, finding the time, discovering body weight exercises etc. But I hope I am aware the coronavirus lockdown has been very different for people – and the last thing I want to do was write something smug about how I was staying in shape despite the gyms being closed.

As I think I have explained before this blog is about my own perspectives on health, exercise and diet, because I believe that my own experiences aren’t completely reflected from other blogs, articles and social media post out there. But as lockdown progressed I saw a lot of people posting about garden/home workouts, running, walking and cycling. That is great, and really I had nothing to add – I did some workouts at home – went running (which I will write about another time) – and have returned to the gym now they have re-opened.

Yes, I’m wearing a mask

But I’m sure for some it’s not been that straightforward. Other responsibilities, such as taking care of children not in school, got in the way – maybe life in a general – and of course a whole lot of people have actually had Covid-19. So what I didn’t want to write something that said hey look at me, I’m doing okay when you might not be.

So, yes, I did do okay during lockdown, few ups and downs, but nothing major. But I didn’t start a new business, I didn’t learn a new skill and most certainly did not bake any banana bread.

I used to bake banana bread… before it was cool.

Events, dear boy, events

It’s a quote attributed to former Prime Minister Harold Macmillan – although, as with a lot of the best quotes, he might not have actually said it.

But the sentiment sticks: What ever plans you have, they can easily be derailed by unforeseen events. If we knew they were coming they wouldn’t be unforeseen would they.

So this week my fitness plans were seriously impinged by my car stopping working. It’s personal problem which I don’t really want to bore you with. This isn’t a blog about the tedious, fairly regular things, that happen in my life.

It meant my usual routine was completely messed up. Oh no, what am I going to do? Not much, what can I do? You’ve just got to – in word of Oasis – roll with it. There are bigger things to worry about and I know that I’ll get back on the fitness horse soon enough.

That’s the point, this isn’t my job, so missing a couple of days, a week, even a month isn’t the end of the world. No-one is going to look at you and go “oh you haven’t been to the gym for two days” or however long it is.

Actually I regularly try and have a week off here and there, especially around holidays. You don’t want to ruin a family game of Dobble by going off and doing a few press ups.

Did you you wipe this down?

So then on to the Coronavirus – what a seamless link.

The headline in papers yesterday read: “Gyms are a high-risk location for coronavirus to spread, doctor warns – saying ‘big blokes pumping away’ could be ‘super spreaders'”

What is this Carry On Coronavirus.

Anyway, from what appears to happening in other countries – and despite the sensible precautions that most (if not all, I can’t visit every single one) gyms are taking – going to the gym may be prohibited.

If, and it’s big if, that happens, it happens. There are more important things than my routine, my timetable, my gains, etc.

There are things in life you need to take seriously, missing the gym is not one of them. Seriously.

How Many People See You Naked Anyway?

I have to be honest when I take my clothes off it is something of a disappointment.

I work hard at the gym, I eat right most of the time, and don’t drink or smoke. If you thinking that makes me boring then you can take a running jump quite frankly. But anyway…

It’s a weird phenomenon – when I’m wearing clothes, I feel good in them, and I think I look good in them (my fashion sense aside – did you see the orange belt on the other post!).

But, when I rip my clothes off at night, and pop on my Christmas themed slipper socks and dressing gown (remember – not boring) that doesn’t seem to be reflected when I look in the mirror.

That was a mirror pun.

I think I must have dropped something on the floor

I still have love handles, or a bit of a spare tyre, or whatever the actually medical term for it is. I’m not quite a triangular as my gym contemporaries, and I don’t have a six-pack.

Does any of that matter though?

We spend our time worrying about being “beach-body ready” when actually how long do we spend on the beach? If we go on holiday abroad it might be two weeks, if we go on holiday in the UK, it might be two hours.

I live in Northamptonshire – the nearest beach to me is Hunstanton, and that’s 4 hours away and to be beach-body ready for Hunstanton you need a pair of wellies and kagool.

To me what matters is feeling good. I think that looking good is nice by-product of that. If I achieve some the goals of a six pack etc fine – but if I don’t feel good doing it, then to me it seems pointless, unless you’re being paid of course.

What’s The Point (of this blog)?

You’ve most probably seen those articles or social media posts with the person when they were overweight and then next to that picture is another one with them now considerably slimmer and maybe even quite a bit more muscular.

It’s like that – only also not like that.

Let me explain, because if I didn’t this would be both short and pointless.

I’m going to be using the term overweight – even though I do not like it – because for the moment it’s useful, before we go for a deep dive later in the blog.

I did used to be overweight, more overweight that the picture on this page suggests. But given I did not know back then I would lose the weight, go to the gym, take photos and blog about it, I did not have the foresight to take a photo of myself at my biggest looking sad. Although I am looking sad in that photo – that was for comic effect. It’s long story.

Nor did I keep my 40inch waist jeans to do a hilarious photo with my slimmer self in them, next to my wife/child/pet/pot plant.

Anyone would think I didn’t plan this.

But the fact is, I was big, then I lost weight – but then I put I back on again, but (is that too many buts) then I lost it again.

However (it’s like but, but posher) I always feel like I don’t look like those other guys I see in magazines, or on the internet, or even in the gym next to me.

I don’t have six-pack, I mean that is hard to get, right?

I’m quite hairy, and not just in the places it’s deemed acceptable.

I get spots – for goodness sake I am 38 and I still get spots – the “don’t worry it’s a teenage thing” was a lie.

I go to the gym, and watch my diet, because I enjoy it, and hope, along with other stuff, it makes me a better version of myself.

So the point, if there is a point of this, is to try and convey the good stuff and the bad of my fitness, and share my attempts to keep in shape, and get in better shape.

Feel free to email or tweet any thoughts or comments, about the blog, not just general ones